Luxury cruise ship arrives in Mombasa with 479 tourists
A luxury cruise ship, MS Sliver Cloud, docked at the port of Mombasa on Monday with 255 passengers and 224 crew.
The ship arrived in the morning from Zanzibar with a total of 479 visitors and is expected to depart for Seychelles on Tuesday evening.
It brings the number of tourists who visited the country by sea this season to almost 3,000 compared to 6,000 visitors last season.
In the current cruise tourism season from November 2016 to March 2017, only two luxury ships, MS Nautica and MS Silver Cloud, have made two trips each.
In January, MS Nautica, which is operated by Oceania Cruises, brought 1,050 tourists while in December 2016 the vessel came with 991 holidaymakers.
Majority of the tourists who arrived on Monday were from the United States while others were from Germany, Canada and England.
Upon arrival, some visitors flew over to the Maasai Mara National Reserve for game drives while others travelled to Shimba Hills Game Reserve in Kwale for safari.
Other tourists enjoyed excursions in Mombasa Town with visits to Fort Jesus while some visited Haller Park in Bamburi.
Normally, the holidaymakers arriving by sea make their tours during daytime and leave in the evening, but this time around, the 479 visitors were here for an overnight stay and are expected to depart for Seychelles on Tuesday evening.
A Canadian tourist, Andres Bernard and his wife Patricia, said they were glad to arrive in Kenya for the first time.
Mr Bernard said they were travelling to Maasai Mara National Reserve for game viewing, adding that they were looking forward to a memorable safari in Kenya.
“We came to Kenya for safari so that we [can] watch the big animals including elephants, giraffes, lions, buffaloes and leopards,” the Canadian tourist said.
A British tourist, John McCarthy, said he was happy to be back in Kenya for his 10th trip, explaining that in his previous visits, he toured Nairobi and Mombasa.
Mr McCarthy added that in this particular visit, he will spend his time in Mombasa for sightseeing and meeting friendly locals.
A Germany holidaymaker, Karen Rayman, said she was in Mombasa for the first time, adding that she was enjoying the warm weather.
“It is a dream come true for me to be in Mombasa as it is a popular tourist destination for leisure. I had been [hearing] stories about the beauty of this holiday resort from German friends,” she added.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Senior Principal Communications Officer Haji Masemo said the arrival of MS Silver Cloud was a boost to cruise tourism since it was its second trip this season.
Last season, the port received 10 cruise ships which brought in more than 6,000 tourists.
In December, KPA launched the construction of the first ever cruise ship terminal at the port of Mombasa at a cost of Sh350 million.